The Goulamina Lithium Project was previously called the Bougouni Lithium Project. The Company has changed the name to more closely reflect the geographic location and avoid possible confusion with other lithium projects. Goulamina comprises a large land holding (295km2) covering highly prospective lithium pegmatites in the Bougouni Region of southern Mali, approximately 150km by road from Mali’s capital, Bamako.
The Project hosts a spodumene (lithium) pegmatite deposit at Goulamina with a published Mineral Resource (compliant with JORC 2012 Reporting Guidelines) of 32.9 Mt @ 1.37% Li2O (0.4% Li2O cut-off, 451,000t contained Li2O)9.
In January 201710, the Company announced the results of a Scoping Study that concluded the Project was of sufficient commercial potential to justify progression to a Prefeasibility Study (PFS). The completion of that PFS is scheduled for the September quarter 2017.
Goulamina Mineral Resource classifications, at a 0.4% Li2O cut-off
|CATEGORY||Zone||Tonnes||Li2O (%)||Li2O (t)||Fe2O3|
|TOTAL INDICATED AND INFERRED||32,900,000||1.37||451,000||1.09|
Two bodies of spodumene-bearing pegmatite were originally defined by drilling at Goulamina – Main Zone and West Zone11. A third body (the Sangar Zone) was defined in early 201712. Substantial strike extensions to all three pegmatite bodies beneath shallow cover are suggested by an auger drilling campaign concluded in July 2017. In addition, geological mapping of the project area and further auger drilling campaigns have identified several new target zones with outcropping and shallowly-buried lithium-bearing pegmatite13. Sections of these zones are shown on this page.
The known lithium-bearing pegmatite zone now extends for at least 2.6km along strike and up to 1.1km across strike.
The new target zones substantially increase the scope for significant resource expansion at Goulamina.
Over the past few years, robust demand and constrained supply have led to higher lithium prices – up strongly since the start of 2015. Future demand for lithium looks likely to continue, driven primarily by uptake of lithium batteries for electric cars and static storage. Significantly, lithium battery production capacity is forecast to be over 5-times the 2015 levels by 202514.
Spodumene is the main lithium bearing mineral in most hard rock lithium deposits. Ores are typically upgraded at the mine site by crushing, screening, dense media and flotation separation techniques to produce a spodumene concentrate. Chemical grade concentrate, typically containing 6% Li2O, is sold and converted into lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide for use in battery manufacturing and other industrial applications.
On 31 January 201715, Birimian announced that the Scoping Study for the Goulamina Lithium Project had confirmed the outstanding potential of the Project. The study concluded that the Goulamina deposit is likely to be amenable to low cost, open pit mining and staged processing plant development, benefiting from low mining strip ratios, high grade near-surface mineralisation, and the low-cost operating environment in Mali.
The Goulamina Project Scoping Study evaluated the technical and potential economic viability, at a preliminary level, of an open pit mine development at the Project's Goulamina deposit. It was based on the maiden Mineral Resource of 15.5Mt @ 1.48% Li2O. Various processing options were considered to optimise throughput capacity and recoveries, with consideration given to managing early stage potential cash flow and upfront capital costs. Mining and processing parameters were investigated at a US$537 per tonne selling price (6% Li2O concentrate).
The Scoping Study envisaged developing Goulamina as a 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) high grade open pit mine to supply material to a conventional dense media separation (DMS) plant (Stage 1), with a transition to processing medium-grained material by DMS and flotation in later years (Stage 2). The Scoping Study concluded that, subject to further detailed studies, the Project could deliver average annual production of approximately 190,000 tonnes of 6% Li2O concentrate over an initial 13-year Life of Mine (LoM). The LoM cash cost was estimated to be US$326 per tonne of concentrate.
Capital costs (determined to a nominal accuracy of +/‐30% in the Scoping Study) for the processing plant and associated project infrastructure were estimated at US$83.4M, including a US$10.9M contingency. The initial start-up capital cost for Stage 1 was estimated at US$ 47.2M and Stage 2 capital cost at US$36.2M, which could potentially be funded by Stage 1 cash flow.
This positive Scoping Study outcome led the Company’s board to approve the commencement of a PFS, which remains on track to be completed during the September 2017 quarter. The estimated Resource has been substantially upgraded (now contains approximately double the amount of Li2O) and significant potential for further resource expansion exists, with the known Resource open at depth and along strike and newly discovered lithium-bearing spodumene pegmatite outcrops providing several new exploration targets.
Birimian remains focussed on a fast-tracked development for the Goulamina Project and delivering maximum value to its shareholders. As a consequence of the expanded Resource estimate, the scope of the PFS has been expanded to consider a larger scale development and down-stream processing of the spodumene concentrate to produce a higher value, lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide product.
13 See ASX release, 22nd June 2017
14 Deutsche Bank Market Research, “Lithium 101”, May 2016
15 Scoping Study – Cautionary Statements
The Scoping Study is a preliminary technical and economic study of the potential viability of the Goulamina Lithium Project. It is based on low accuracy technical and economic assessments, and is insufficient to support estimation of Ore Reserves or to provide assurance of an economic development case at this stage; or to provide certainty that the conclusions of the Scoping Study will be realised. Approximately 40% of the maiden Mineral Resource is in the Indicated category, with the remainder in the Inferred category. There is a low level of geological confidence associated with Inferred mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the determination of Indicated or Measured Mineral Resources. Furthermore, there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the conversion of Indicated and Measured Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves.
The Goulamina project area with new target zones
identified by geological mapping
Section at northing 1254900, showing Main and West loads
Section at northing 1254600, showing Main and West loads
Section at northing 1254100, showing Sangar load
Results of phase 1 auger program showing identified and interpreted pegmatite zones at Goulamina.